Thank you for your thoughts on the tsunami disaster and the role of God. Here are just a few of your summarized comments. I have added my own reflections through eight posed questions in my final comment section. Those questions are:
- Did God love those who died in the tsunami?
- Did God grieve over their deaths?
- What is God’s purpose in allowing or causing a tsunami; why did so many have to die?
- Did God want all those who died in the tsunami saved? Does He want all men, buy check women, help and children to be saved?
- Did all those who died in the tsunami have a fair chance for salvation through Christ?
- What about the children who died in the tsunami, especially those who were too young to know about Christ?
- Why do fellow Muslims not come to the aid of their brethren in this disaster?
- What should we do, how should we get involved?
My wife and I were amazed by a Christian radio show that featured a pastor talking about a Buddhist woman that was open to hear about the Lord while she stood angrily at a heap of idols. She was telling the evangelist that the idols have done nothing to comfort her or save her family, she is the only one left. The harvest is ripe for these souls to know that God gave the ultimate sacrifice for our sins by giving his son to die on the cross for us. Just a little nugget of truth as we enter into the lives of those who have lost so much. They are eager for an ultimate understanding as they try to put what pieces of their lives back together.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami are unbelievably tragic. After seeing the daily pictures, video and reports that are flowing from the affected region, it’s remains difficult to conceive of such destruction and loss.
You asked some thoughtful questions in your last TM. As recorded in the OT, God has used things of nature as His instrument of judgment. The Flood, some of the 10 plagues in Exodus, etc. We are told in the Revelation that God will use other natural phenomenon to judge mankind in the future, Rev.6-8. God has used man as an instrument of His judgment. He has used great armies to fulfill his will and wrath, even against His chosen people.
So does this disaster fit into the category of God’s judgment? I don’t know for sure, but we can see that God uses natural means as a tool of judgment. BUT BE CAREFUL in discussing this. Our society is allergic to a God that judges. They are more comfortable with a god that only loves and accepts everyone regardless of their perversions. Pastors and teachers do need to be careful in discussing this topic, as it will be easily misunderstood. We have seen this in most discussions about God and the aids epidemic. One can hardly have a conversation of the facts without being judged as insensitive and homophobic. I believe Christians have a responsibility to help through prayer and contributions. The USA is the only nation capable of logistical support on a massive scale. We have been given much, so we need to respond. And hopefully, the world can see that being a “Christian nation” means being compassionate, loving, and responsive…. I doubt it, we’ll still be hated, but Americans always respond.
Some Scriptures that come to mind are Matthew 24:7 – is this the beginning of the earth’s ‘birth pangs’? Matthew 25 is relevant: responding to the needs of these tsunami victims.
Most of the Tsunami information I get comes from CNN International. That has been the only thing they are reporting since it happened. The European television stations are giving quite a bit of coverage to it, because there were a lot of Europeans who were killed. The question I keep thinking is; within three hours of the earthquake there were over 100,000 people dead over a vast region. How does the hand of God play into this? What is his message? This might sound strange, but it actually strengthens my faith. You either have to say, “it was a purely natural event”, or “it was an event allowed by God to advance his purpose, to communicate a message, and perhaps to judge.” Most people would consider it a natural event, failing to recognize the authority of God over nature. With all tragic events you have to ask, “why would He allow this to happen?” But, this event was enormous and maybe there is a special message here?
Now there is an assignment that requires thought, study and prayer !!!! I’m just glad that it is not my responsibility to plan and orchestrate such “world altering” events for the physical world as well as the populations. What is the make up of those affected? The children, the elderly the ideological make up of peoples? Their goals. Their actions. “Changed the world on its axis?” 180,000 dead more missing? Homeless, food, water, sanitation, grief? The hand of God is not weak or without reason. It is not always for us to know the reason but only that if God allowed / or caused this, there is a good reason for good
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West Seattle, Washington
I don’t want to try and out-guess what the Lord’s thinking was to this tremendous disaster, but it has caused me to evaluate my life. When the numbers of my days are up, no matter how it ends, have I finished the work the Lord has given me to do? Am I sharing the good news with those in my path, so that when their end comes they will not be caught by the intensity of flames, but instead by the embrace of Jesus? Am I thankful for this moment of life, or wasting it with discontent? Am I giving what I have to feed and care for those in Asia’s terrible sorrow….and praying for their comfort, strength, salvation and God’s mercy? Am I seeking the Lord’s will? I guess these are some of the questions I’ve considered since the under-sea earth shook up our world. “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article I gave you this morning, when you get a chance. You said one thing this morning that I’m really struggling with and have been for a while. I don’t really understand (comprehend) pre-destination. You said God creates all life and takes all life and God controls all things and knows what will happen and that God wouldn’t create a life just to have them sent to hell. If God knows someone won’t accept Christ and they end up going to hell, why does he create them? If he knows a baby will be aborted, why create it? I hope I’m not troubling you.
My Final Reflections
Here are some questions that may help you understand God’s role and character in this great tsunami disaster. They have helped me explain the tsunami and the God I serve and put my trust in.
1. Did God love those who died in the tsunami?
Yes, God loved those who died in the Tsunami as much as He loved any man, woman, or child He has ever created (Psalm 139:13-15). He loved them so much that 2000 years previous to their death He let His own Son die on a cross so they might be saved unto an eternal heavenly reward. There is not one of them that was not created in pure love (John 3:16).
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret. Psalm 139:13-15
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
2. Did God grieve over their deaths?
Yes, God the Father, Son, and Spirit grieved over each one who died. God is compassionate, caring, and deeply empathetic with everyone who suffered death or loss in the tsunami. God the Father knows suffering; He experienced perhaps the greatest sorrow of all when He let His Son die an excruciating death on the cross. (Luke 23:46). Jesus, the Son of God also knew pain; He felt it numerous times during the course of His earthly ministry. The greatest example was the tearful emotion he felt at Lazareth’s funeral (John 11:33-35).
There was no joy in heaven during the hours of the great tsunami; all in heaven grieved for the victims whose lives were being taken. The greatest grief of all though was for those who did not know Christ as Lord, because they would never be in the presence of God again nor experience life in heaven (John 3:36). For those who knew Christ, heaven’s grief was quickly turned to joy as these brothers and sisters in Christ joined them in heaven. (Luke 15:10; I Cor. 15:54-57; I Thess. 4:13-14)
” And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46
“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. John 11:33-35
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10
” … Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:54-57
” But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep (died), so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep (died) in Jesus.” I Thess. 4:13-14
3. What is God’s purpose in allowing a tsunami; why did so many have to die?
God’s primary purpose in the Tsunami was to end the lives of those He created, to bring conclusion to their time here on earth. He had a right to and He did it. They, along with every other person on earth had a prescribed time to live (Matthew 6:27; Psalm 139:13 & 16; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
The only two people in history who escaped death were Elijah and Enoch. God determines the life span for each person born into this world.
Although 150,000 lives seems like a tremendous loss of life, and it is, it does not compare to the number of lives God has already taken this year around the world. Another part to His purpose in ending these lives to deliver a lasting message to those left behind, and that is embrace Christ as Lord and Savior while there is still time (John 11:25-26).
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. Psalm 139:13 & 16
There is an appointed time for everything, and there is a time for every event under heaven, a time to give birth and a time to die.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
4. Did God want all those who died in the tsunami saved? Does He want all men, women, and children to be saved?
God created every man, woman, and child out of love and wishes that all would be saved (Psalm 139:13-14). Everyone who died in the Tsunami disaster was loved by God, and it was His wish that all would be saved unto salvation (2 Peter 3:9). But not all were saved; in fact, it was very probable that very few were. So many in this region of the world have followed false gods for years, and have no relationship with the God who created them. Because of this rebellion against God they were judged and eliminated forever from His presence. (John 3:18; Romans 8:31-32)
” For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
“And my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
” The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all…”Romans 8:31-32
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. John 3:18
5. Did all those who died in the tsunami have a fair chance for salvation through Christ?
God gives the responsibility to all Christians to spread the Gospel of Christ to all nations. (Matthew 28:19-20) Since this call was given over two thousand years ago many Christians have done just that. And because of their ministry and the will of God, millions upon millions have received Christ as Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:14-15) But for those who seemingly have not been enlightened, God somehow some how speaks to their hearts. How He does it, I do not know, but He does. According to His Word, every man, woman, or child will be enlightened unto salvation through Christ. (John 1:9-12) There is no other way to salvation; it does not come through Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any otherworld religion, but only through Christ alone. (John 14:6)
” And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19-20
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:14-15
” There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John 1:9-12
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6
6. What about the children who died in the tsunami, especially those who were too young to know about Christ?
God loves all of His creation, especially young children. He made His love very evident in a sermon that warned them about interfering with the well being and spiritual growth of a child. (Matthew 18:5 -6). God did not create anyone for the sole purpose of going to hell. He loves those He creates, and wishes that all would embrace Christ as Lord and Savior. (Psalm 139:13-14) The tsunami children who were too young to make a decision for Christ were protected by His loving grace as is true with all children brought into this world. There is an age of accountability implied in the Scripture and until this age is reached all children are safe in the arms of God. (Isaiah 7:14-16)
“And whoever receives a child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:5 -6
“For You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15 “He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. “For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken. Isaiah 7:14-16
7. Why do fellow Muslims not come to the aid of their brethren in this disaster
Islam believes in fatalism. It is a perverted view of God’s sovereignty. Fatalism is best expressed in the phrase, “What ever will be will be, thus is the will of Allah.” It would not be out of character for a Muslim to state this as they rob or kill another, even one of their own. So it is my guess that the reason Muslim nations are not helping their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in Southeast Asia is because why do it, “Whatever will be will be, thus is the will of Allah.”
Most nations helping the Tsunami victims do so because at one time or another they have been influenced by the tenets of Christianity. Without knowing it they are applying many of the love lessons Jesus taught. Lessons like: ” love your enemies”, ” pray for those who persecute you”, and emulate the ministry of the good Samarian. (Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 10:30-33) The nations who are helping the victims of the Tsunami have a view of God’s sovereignty that says, ” I grieve with you, how can I help?”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5: 43-44
Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:30-33
8. What should we do, how should we get involved?
If you can’t go and help, then send the resources to help. Give money to Christian organizations who will minister directly to these hurting people. Pray daily for the salvation of these spiritually lost people. Consider that this was not truly a disaster as the world sees it, but an orchestrated event created to win those who survived to the Lord. The only real disaster is not to respond to His message and continue to refuse His offer of salvation.
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. John 4